Fans will feel a flutter of nostalgia as they see Mark Hamill return as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi this Friday. Not only that, he'll also be Rey's mentor and trainer in the ways of the Force on Ahch-To just like Yoda was to him on Dagobah — or maybe he's more comparable to Alec Guinness's Obi-Wan.
Unlike Yoda, however, he's not a sweet and wise old Jedi Master, but a cynical and crotchety old man who no longer believes in the pristine ideals he once did. Having your nephew turn to the Dark Side will do that to ya. Still, the final version of Luke we see in Episode VIII wasn't the same version from the very beginning.
According to Mashable, director Rian Johnson and actor Mark Hamill had differing takes on the character from the start of production. While speaking with the publication at a Star Wars press junket in L.A., Hamill said that Luke's bitterness and cynicism were hard pills to swallow.
"'It's time for the Jedi to end?' Are you kidding me?" he exclaimed. "I'm just saying, what could have happened between the last time we saw him and now for him to be that way? Even if it was the worst thing in the world, I said to [Johnson], 'Jedis don't give up.'"
Johnson responded that he wasn't entirely shocked this would be the case, citing that Hamill has more of a grasp on the character than he ever could.
"Mark, he's had however many years ... to think about where he thinks the character would go, and if Luke came back, how he would be," he said. "The idea that I would...show up and plop a script in his lap and say, 'And now it's this,' and he would read it and say, 'Yep, that's exactly what I had in mind' – That was not going to happen. It was inevitable there were things that were not going to line up about what he expected and what was on the page."
The director and his actor entered a collaborative process of discussion, arguments, and give and take, which Johnson said brought them closer together. In addition, he called it cathartic in a way, having to go over the reasons and justifications for why Luke is where he is in The Last Jedi. At the end of the day, Hamill was willing to trust Johnson implicity.
"He gets everyone on his side and by the time you start on day one, you're already a bonded family. My goal is to do my very best to realize your vision, regardless of whether I agree with it or not,'" said the 66-year-old actor. "It's not my story to tell. It's Rian's story to tell. I thought the worst thing I could do was burden him with, 'Luke wouldn't say this. Luke wouldn't do that,' blah, blah, blah. Think, clear the slate and pretend it's like almost like an entirely new character that's not locked into what you did before."